GW2: Scalefail

Anet is selling that once you hit 80, you can still go back to all areas of the game and enjoy the content as intended because you scale down to it. I’m not buying that.

For starters you have more skills and abilities as an 80 downscaled than you do when playing the content at the ‘correct’ level. That would not be a major issue if having more skills/abilities did not make you directly more powerful, but in GW2 it does. The fact that your gear will also be better tuned (no toughness stats on an lvl 80 caster for example) will make an impact.

But all of the above would not be a huge factor if the game tuned you down to the average level of the content. Sadly it does not. It puts you at the max level, which makes things rather easy. This is great for those who are looking to steamroll their way to 80, or for those who enjoy faceroll content in general, but if I’m expected to play the content for the content itself, not for progression/advancement reasons, faceroll is a bad difficulty setting.

The saddest part is that, at level, the content in GW2 is not insultingly easy like in most themeparks (from what I’ve seen so far anyway). It’s not ‘hard’, but it will keep you awake and occasionally make you think about what skills you are mashing. I’ve actually managed to die a few times (of course there is basically no death penalty, but baby steps).

It would be nice if you could select the level you scale down to, so those who want to faceroll could always run around at the max for that area, while others could elect to drop to the average, or even a level or two below that. Hey, maybe they could sell me that in the item shop…

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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25 Responses to GW2: Scalefail

  1. Ettesiun says:

    I totally support you on that : you should always be able to choose your difficulty level in MMO. I just dont understand why it is not possible in all MMOs. You can even separate server by difficulty level if you do not want to see carebear spoiling your hardcore fun. Or you can instead sell a “downLevelMe” artifact in item shop…

  2. bhagpuss says:

    Heh! You’re trying so hard to be negative but those little notes of positivity will just keep creeping in :)

  3. Scaling/mentoring/dial-a-level stuff is always kind of iffy. So far I like Rift’s because you can set the level you want for lower level content. But you still end up way over-skilled and over-equipped if you are a level 50 that has spent any time on planar attunement and purple gear.

  4. Ardwulf says:

    To my mind, the limited selection of skills you can be using at any one time mitigates this possible issue. Word is that low-level characters actually scale up (in PvP) better than high-level characters scale down. I do not yet have a fully-formed optinion on that, but I can say that my level 23 characters finds a lot of content in the 1-15 zone he’s currently in to not be drastically easier, if at all. But I’m aware that a level 23 might not be seeing the full effect of how scaling works, too.

    Also, remember, no gear treadmill with ever-inflating stats. That will help as well.

    I do not understand your third paragraph unless you mean that the scaling puts you at the max level for the particular part of the zone you are in. Which is true, but sometimes the range is a single level, and I’ve never seen it be more than two levels higher, and more often it’s one. Which makes a difference, but not, from what I’ve seen, not a huge difference.

    Essentially you are saying that you believe the scaling will turn out to be broken. You may be right, but it hasn’t demonstrated itself to be so far.

    • SynCaine says:

      Say a heart is aimed at lvl 10. The scaling cap for that area is 12. A lvl 10 will find the heart-related content a reasonable challenge. The lvl 12 will find it much easier. A lvl 25 downscaled to 12 will be even stronger. Unless you somehow get weaker being an 80 with BiS gear downscaled to 12, the problem only increases from lvl 25 (a point that it was already a problem).

      • bhagpuss says:

        Do you really think many people will notice? And of those who do, how many do you think will care?

        My feeling is that people who are bothered by such stuff will shake out fairly soon because the whole tenor of the game won’t be to their taste. It’s a potterer’s game par excellence and as it becomes more widely known in spheres beyond the usual AAA MMO clique it will attract a steady stream of people who don’t generally play this sort of thing.

        I’m not sure how great the cross-over between GW1 and, say, WoW would have been. My guess is not that great. I don’t think GW2 is going to steal WoW’s audience, nor that of most other Western MMOs. I think it will build an audience that includes a minority of that demographic and a majority of people who only dabble in MMOs at the moment. In other words, it’s an MMO for people who don’t really like MMOs.

        • SynCaine says:

          ” it’s an MMO for people who don’t really like MMOs”

          Yea that’s probobly the worst thing you could say about GW2. My guess is Anet would not agree either, and something tells me the business plan was not to cater to non-MMO players, given the whole “GW1 was not an MMO, but GW2 is” stance from Anet.

        • Shadow says:

          I have two coworkers who are former WoW players. Both having been asking me all week about GW2. They have both decided to pick up GW2 citing WoW-apathy/burnout, & not having to pay a monthly sub. Four boxes between them, one has a spouse, other a cousin he’s bringing along – I should get commission.

  5. Red says:

    Can’t disagree with what you say. Being one or two levels below max level would certainly compensate for the additional skills/stat optimization and make downscaling more enjoyable.

  6. Paragus says:

    Agree. The scaling thing works but not dramatically. Its still always going to be a lot easier if you are a fair degree higher. I guess you could always roll an alt, there are enough alternate zones to level in that you could probably play the game again and use completely different zones. At any given time there seems to be at least 2-3 areas in any given content range, and each has about enough meat to get you through to the next one.

    • professer says:

      “I guess you could always roll an alt, there are enough alternate zones to level in that you could probably play the game again and use completely different zones”

      That’s a factor I love to see in themeparks. I stuck around with vanguard for much longer than I normally would, because there was still 2/3 of the 1-50 content left for me to play after getting my first character to 50. Never cared to do their version of loof-whoring/raiding since they took out the FFA pvp server.

      I had some epic fights on that server deep in the depths of some of VGs dungeons.

  7. coppertopper says:

    Yea just tested this out. You can see what other players are downloeveled to by looking at their portrait – if they are downleveled they will have a green arrow pointing down next to their level. In a level 5 heart area, it does downlevel you to 5. What makes things so easy is that these are starter areas. I was walking thru the bandit caverns with grenade kit and killing indiscriminately. But at level 10+ the mobs have conditions and abilities, which makes all the difference. I don’t think this scaling will be as noticeable in late teens+ areas.

    • Shadow says:

      At level 21 now, with 10 points in my +power trait line. I’ve completed all of my Norn starting area, all of the human starting area, and working through the Asura area. The human area, even at the end, was still very simple, and the Asura area is proving to be similar cake.

      Skill events where I have to fight a “veteran”-class mob are easily solo’d with barely any attention given. Fights against “champion”-class mobs can go either way, but if I get even one more warm body around, it’s a sure win.

      The scaling, while a nice nod, does not do a great job of pushing you back down on the power scale. Perhaps that may not have been the intent.

      • coppertopper says:

        I am still wondering if starter areas are intentionally less complex, which makes scaling down that much easier. Time and experience will tell. But yes right now the starter areas are EASILY farmable.

      • SynCaine says:

        If scaling not providing a challenge is intentional, that’s horrible design. That would mean the hardest the content will ever be is your first time through it, and all subsequent passes will be easier.

        My guess is all of the content was designed around the recommended level. Unrelated, the long-term design was to have people go back and see everything, hence downscaling. But the content was never truly tuned to the downscaling power curve, and hence faceroll.

        • Kobeathris says:

          I’d actually be more interested to find out how it works in Dungeons than in the open world stuff. I can see reasons why it would be more difficult to tune right in open world than in a dungeon, especially given the Story/Explorer split.

        • bhagpuss says:

          You know that someone is going to get to level 80 without ever leaving the starting area of their home city. Just because they can.

  8. theJexster says:

    So far it feels overly easy but fun. I would hope as I progress in the game, as I mature as a knowledgeable player, the content does as well, by becoming more difficult. Sadly the modern MMOer is the sort that complains about the lack of hand holding as seen in GW2 beta so I doubt it will.

  9. Chris K. says:

    This brings another question…

    If you’re a completion nut, is there a chance of outlevelling and ultimately trivializing zones in GW2? Myself, I like to do 100% of a zone before moving on (unless it’s a mind-numbing grind) and would hate if content becomes trivial just because – say – I crafted a bit and found all the vistas.

    What’s your experience so far?

    • professer says:

      Maybe some sort of XP reduction would work for players like you. I remember in EQ2 and Vanguard you could disable xp from monster kills and only get XP from quests. There was also EQ2’s AA slider to mitigate xp from your level to your AA.

      I don’t know if GW2 supports any sort of xp reduction feature, but it doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

    • coppertopper says:

      I wouldnt say it was trivial – died a couple times trying to take on 3-4 mobs. Maybe it is the Emgineer with nades and flamethrower that is OP. But being downleveled from 12-8 was getting 8 exp per kill in the 8 heart zone. Still was fun – the combat seems to be more and more fun as I play. A thief was walking over mobs 1v1 while i was mowing them down a littler slower in small groups. Don’t see anyone soloing group content downleveled unless you are geared the F out with sigils, runes, jewlery, ect. Basically seems like you feel powerful but not godly. I imagine when twinks hit that content with best-in-slot geAr it will be about the same as a downleveled 80.

  10. Hmm in my personal experience with small level downgrading as a thief i.e. 18 down to 10, is that I find the content the same or harder than when I’m doing it at my level i.e. level 18 at level 18. I’m regularly getting close to dying one-on-one with some mobs. Maybe I suck – but it’s wasn’t as hard when I was the same level and I now have additional accessories and rings and shoulder slots filled and have more of my gear upgraded.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Except like you know.. if you have a problem with having all your level 80 skills you can always.. you know.. unequip them. Just sayin. Hell you can save a armor piece from your level 5 days and wear it, so you’ll be a little stronger than you were before. Who cares.

  12. AAnet are liars says:

    GW2 PvE is for casual care bears, WvW is for zergs and sPvP is a slapped on addon.

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